Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Barton Upon Humber 'Sugarloaf' Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

This page was updated at 6:58am on 23/8/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Barton Upon Humber 'Sugarloaf' Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Lincolnshire. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye, Tom Andrew and our internal archive.

Barton upon Humber Patrol (Lincoln Group 1 / 1b) had the codename “Sugarloaf”.

It formed part of Area North 1 - Group 1 which also included

Worlaby Patrol Lincoln Group 1 (1a)
Elsham Patrol Lincoln Group 1 (1c)
Saxby All Saints Patrol Lincoln Group 1 (1d)
Great Limber Patrol Lincoln Group 1 (1e)

The original Intelligence Officer was Captain Donald Hamilton-Hill who went on to join SOE (Special Operations Executive). He was succeeded by Captain William M B Lamb and finally Major H L F Bucknall.

Hamilton-Hill's original Headquarters at Wellingore Hall was quickly requestioned by the RAF as was the second at Blankney Hall. The third and final move was to Dalby Hall and just before stand down, administration was moved to North Bar Within Beverley, Yorkshire.

The Area Commander was Captain D S Parker of Cabourne Parver.

Group commander of these Patrols was Lt H Marshall of The Grange, Saxby All Saints and 2nd Lt W Riggall of Croxton.

Summer 1940

Sergeant John M “Jack”Andrew, a farmer of Grange Farm
Corporal Harry Rushbrook, a dairyman
Val Nettleton, a farmer
Harold W Greaves, a Ministry butcher. Recorded on the Nominal Roll as “W” Greaves.
Frederick Bingley, a butcher
Godfrey M Andrew, a farmer of Grange Farm. Brother of Sergeant J Andrew.
Thomas R Andrew, an apprentice who later joined RAF in 1942. Son of Sergeant J Andrew.

The OB is situated on private farmland which was accessed by kind permission of the farmer. It was built into a field boundary hedge beside a farm track through fields east of South Ferriby, to the east of a working gravel pit.

CART visited the OB site with John Andrew (son of patrol leader Sgt JM “Jack” Andrew) and Dennis Holloway in order to assess condition, take measurements and photographic records.

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 1

The OB was built into a field boundary - a slightly elevated grassed-over strip with a mature hedgerow growing on it, dividing a cultivated field from a farm track. (Above)

This is one of 15 Lincolnshire OBs that were built by John Sheffield of Scunthorpe with Royal Engineers’ labouring. It was constructed from prefabricated concrete panels that were bolted together. Breezeblocks were used for building both end walls.

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 3

The structure is in excellent condition, dry, and well ventilated, with vents in the central roof section as well as in the end walls. The size is 3.20L x 2.50W x 2.10m H and it is orientated N/S.

The OB is accessed with a ladder down a narrow drop-down shaft built from breezeblocks. The vertical shaft is 3m deep, the opening measures 0.90 x 0.80m.

The opening was originally covered by a steel lid with a tray containing soil and vegetation for camouflage on top of it

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 6

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 2

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 4The cover was locked in its position by a key of the type that is commonly used for manholes. Turning the key would have lowered the cover which could then be pushed aside and into an adjoining steel case that is still in situ.

The OB has no emergency exit.

The interior walls were later painted blue and white, presumably by visiting teenagers.

Nothing of the original furniture remains. John Andrew remembers that the OB contained bunks made from wire netting nailed on a wooden frame.

Inside the OB there was four let down bunks either side and it was very cramped for six to seven men.

The OB was stacked with stores of food, water, ammunition and explosives. Guns were kept at home with a certain amount of ammunition in case of parachutist.

Food came in wooden boxes with everything needed for one man for 48 days, including a tin of cigarettes.

 

 

The patrol used Rodine (a rat poison), which they mixed with water and sprinkled around the vicinity of their OB, in order to throw enemy sniffer dogs off scent. (IWM interview Dec 1994: http://beta.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80014434)

Other physical remains:  Steel case holding drop and slide cover; ceramic vent pipes; John Andrew has the original key used for opening steel lid (below)

Barton Upon Humber Auxiliary Unit 5

Observation Post/s:  Currently unknown

Targets were Elsham Airfield and the Humber barges.

One night the patrol attacked the airfield at Kirton in Lindsey. They were dropped at the edge of the airfield at night and split up.

Tom Andrew cut through the coiled barbed wire and crawled to the parked Spitfires. He marked the tails with chalk to simulate an explosive charge. He should have then returned and escape unseen but he decided to try and make his way into a hanger. He was challenged and arrested and being “young and silly” he decided to fight back. Treated “a bit roughly” he was taken to the Guard Room to await collection by his father.
All the others achieved their targets and escaped unseen.

Another attack was on the Army tank unit at Brocklesby Park. Charges were placed on tank drive sprockets and by the time they were discovered the Patrol were long gone.

Locally within the area the patrol operated or at the regional headquarters at Wellingore, Blankney or Dalby. All patrols also went to Coleshill for specialist training. Patrol member Tom Andrew mentions (in: Mark Sansom, The Secret Army) how his father, Sgt JM Andrew, excelled in silent night movement and once also won a prize (at Coleshill) for planting explosives.

The Patrol would train at every opportunity on their own and with the regular officer (Scout Section). Sgt. Jack Andrew went to Coleshill and trained the others on his return.

They would practice fast draw and accuracy with the pistols and static and moving targets with the rifles.
They were trained in unarmed combat and silent killing of single sentries.

Competitions between the local patrols in shooting and other skills took place at a quarry near Wellingore. On one occasion the Patrol took petrol coupons with them but no money for the return journey. Luckily Jack Andrew won the rifle sharp shooting, Tom Andrew won the rifle static target and Godfrey Andrew won the revolver competition.
They won enough money for petrol home.

Most Patrol leaders had a .32 cal Beretta all the others had a Smith and Weston .38 cal revolver.
Rifles were, firstly, the Canadian Ross .300 cal, changed later for a short Lee Enfield of which the patrol had 3 or 4. A very heavy Browning Automatic rifle .303 cal was soon replaced by the Tommy Gun.

A Thompson sub machine gun with a blue steel finish was kept in its own case with 50 round drum and 20 round magazine and the cleaning gear. This was withdrawn and replaced by 2 or 3 Sten guns.

A standard stiletto type commando knife was issued to each member as was a rubber truncheon.
They were supplied with a generous amount of ammunition for both practice and operational along with plastic explosives, detonators, fuses with various burn rate, matchbox size booby traps, time pencils, pull switches, sticky bombs for tanks, motor cycles and cars, hand grenades (Mills) and incendiaries.

Many thanks to John Andrew and Dennis Holloway for taking two of the researchers to the location of the OB.

Sgt. John Andrew was known as “Jack” and was a NCO in WW1. Having been badly wounded and taken prisoner, he was mentioned in dispatches in France. A gamekeeper in his youth, he then became a farmer. Having joined the Auxiliary Units he ensured his wife had money hidden in the chicken hut so she could leave area with their youngest son if invasion occurred.

Jack trained at Coleshill and scored high marks. He crawled through a field of sleeping cattle, placed his charges and returned unseen, even by the umpire. He was an expert at moving unseen at night in the countryside.

Godfrey M Andrew was known as “Wag” (Waggoner) and was also a farmer. The two brothers rented and later bought Grange Farm where the OB was built.

Tom Andrew was around 17 when he became a little too curious about what his father was up to as he knew he wasn't in the Home Guard. After talking to the IO it was decided the only safe course of action was to allow Tom to join the Patrol.

Tom Andrew recalled a story told to him when returning on leave from the RAF in later 1943 ; “ It all started when a certain Home Guard officer tried to get to know what my father was doing but of cause he could not tell him as Aux Units were still very secret indeed. This seemed to bother him and he made enquiries higher up the ladder and got his fingers rapped for his trouble.

Sometime in 1943 he told my father that he had a rough idea of what my father was up to and it was a waste of time as no amateurs could do anything against the Home Guard let alone the German Army.

My father heard about a joint exercise with the local army units and the Home Guard. An emergency command post was to be a room in the pub for one night.
My father visited the pub and noticed an old lady come in with a enamel jug with a lid which served as a cup, it was filled with stout and she left.
The landlord said “she comes in every night at this time, you could set your watch by her” and so an idea was born.

On the night of the exercise two Aux Units men called on Mrs Barret and borrowed the jug. At the correct time my father dressed as Mrs Barret in some of my grandmothers clothes and walked down the street.
At the pub door stood a sentry, Jack Howden, who actually worked for father on our farm. He said “Good evening Mrs Barret” and let “her” pass.
My father went into the bar and the landlord said “the usual Mrs Barret?” and filled “her” jug.
Passing the sentry on the way out my father pulled out his Beretta and made them enter the command post where the officers were sat around a table. He then pulled a pin from a (not live) grenade, rolled it under the table and locked the door.

My father got clean away and nobody knew who it was until after stand down.”

Tom Andrew recalled; “Although we realised we could not last long we felt we had the ability and the means to severely hamper the enemy and so assist our forces”

Left: Sgt. John M Andrew                         Right: Godfrey M Andrew


The late Tom Adrew, John Andrew, Barton upon Humber (personal interview); Dennis Holloway; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; Will Ward, DOB; Mark Sansom, The Secret Army, Heritage Lincolnshire (2004)

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